Voters Weigh In On Transportation
TARRYTOWN, NY—During the Nov. 8 election, voters in states across the country had their say on various transportation-related initiatives with billions of dollars at stake. An enterprise that tracks transportation issues reviewed initiatives that were listed on statewide, county and local ballots across the nation.
Nationwide, 14 out of 19 measures to back public transit passed. More broadly, voters approved 88% of state and local proposals to boost or maintain spending on roads and other transportation infrastructure, according to the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). Those 380 approved ballot questions will generate $19.6 billion in revenue in 18 states, the group said.
“A key takeaway from the results is that voters remain committed to investing their tax dollars in better streets, roads, bridges and transit systems even in the face of record inflation and high gasoline prices that are straining household budgets,” said Carolyn
Kramer Simons, the director of the group’s Transportation Investment Advocacy Center.
Texas approved the largest share of new money of any state, according to ARTBA. Most of the $12.9 billion its voters approved support special units of government that build roads and other infrastructure in new housing developments.
Ohio saw the greatest number of transportation measures pass, with residents approving 94% of the 122 before them. The proposals will raise about $250 million, almost all of which is funded by property taxes and devoted to road improvements.
Josh Cohen, the executive director of the American Public Transportation Association’s Center for Transportation Excellence, said the overall direction was encouraging.
“For years, the public’s support for transit has been on a roll, and 2022 is no different,” he said. “Voters support transit at the ballot box because it can transform a community and create pathways to a more equitable and accessible future…While some of the larger measures suffered a setback, the results from the 2022 elections reflect a years-long trend toward greater investment.”
Here is a state-by-state breakdown in some notable initiatives and how they fared on ballots.
Proposition 469: Pinal County – Would authorize a half-cent excise tax to fund a regional transportation plan. The tax is projected to raise $1 billion over 20 years. Projects include a north-south freeway connecting U.S. 60 in Apache Junction with Interstate 10 near Eloy. An east-west corridor linking Maricopa and Casa Grande also is included. FAILED
Proposition 30: Statewide – Whether to add a tax on the state’s wealthiest residents to address greenhouse gas emissions. Increasing the personal income tax above $2 million by 1.75% was estimated to raise up to $4.5 billion yearly. About 45% would have been used for rebates and other incentives for zero-emission vehicle purchases. Another 35% would have been applied for electric vehicle charging stations. Additionally, wildfire suppression and prevention programs would have collected another 20%. FAILED
Measure C: Fresno County – Whether to renew the county’s half-cent transportation tax. The tax is estimated to raise $6.8 billion over 30 years. The plan largely focused on addressing road and bridge work. Public transit would receive about one-third of the amount. FAILED
Measure T: Madera County –Would extend a half-cent transportation tax until ended by voters. Over 30 years, the extension is estimated to raise $866 million. Passage would result in 62.5% of funding being applied to community and neighborhood streets and roads. The county’s major routes, access and safetyimprovements program would get 25% of the funds. Transit, pedestrian projects, and clean air programs would claim the remainder. FAILED TO WIN 2/3RD
Proposition L: City and County of San Francisco – Would continue a 0.5% local sales tax for transportation projects for another 30 years. The tax is estimated to raise $100 million annually. The amount is projected to increase to $236 million annually by fiscal year 2052-53. If approved, the transportation authority would be authorized to issue up to $1.19 billion in bonds that would be repaid with the proceeds of the tax. Funds would cover work to benefit transit, pedestrian projects, congestion reduction, and other improvements. PASSED
Denver voters appear to be on track to approve a measure to tax property owners to better maintain and expand the city’s sidewalk network, with 53% of the electorate supporting it. The advocacy group behind the “Denver Deserves Sidewalks” ballot initiative declared victory Sunday night after unofficial results showed the measure continuing to pull ahead. The measure will raise tens of millions of dollars every year for sidewalk construction and repairs. Ordinance 307, or “Denver Deserves Sidewalks,” would levy a new fee on property owners and shift sidewalk responsibility from property owners to the city.
Question 1C: Boulder County – Would extend for 15 years the 0.1% countywide sales and use tax to pay for transportation issues including maintaining and improving existing infrastructure. Most of the revenue – 55% – would be used for roadway safety. Specifically, money would be used for road shoulders, flood resilience and creek restoration, intersection safety, and mountain road repair. PASSED
Question 1: Hernando County—Whether to authorize a one-half-cent sales tax for roads and recreation. The tax would raise about $138 million over the next decade. Roads would have received the majority of revenue. About 80% would be used to relieve existing and future traffic congestion by expanding local roadways and improving intersections. The rest would be allotted to parks and recreation. Additionally, commercial development would be enhanced. FAILED
Question 1: Statewide – Dubbed the Fair Share Amendment, the proposed amendment to the state constitution would create an additional tax of 4% for household income above $1 million. The state already has a 5% flat-rate income tax. If approved by voters, the tax rate would increase to 9% for the state’s wealthiest residents. An estimated $1.3 billion annually would be applied for public education, roads and bridges, and public transit. PASSED
Transit advocates scored a big victory in suburban Detroit last Tuesday, when Oakland County, MI voters approved a plan to raise property taxes and institute countywide bus service for the first time. It was one of many victories that transportation groups hailed after last week’s election, when the vast majority of ballot questions to fund roads and transit sailed to victory. PASSED
Question 1: Carson City – Whether to continue collection of a local diesel tax to benefit roads and truck parking. In 2020, the Carson City Board of Supervisors acted to approve an ordinance authorizing collection of a diesel tax. Since then, diesel purchases in the city have included a nickel-per-gallon tax. The tax has raised about $500,000 annually. A sunset is included in the ordinance. As a result, voters must approve an extension of the tax to continue collection beyond Dec. 31. PASSED
Question 1: Gaston County – Whether to approve $75 million in general obligation bonds to aid transportation work. Borrowing would be used to cover improvements to benefit public transportation. A portion of the funds—$15 million-$20 million—would cover street and road repairs and resurfacing. Another $20 million would be applied for intersection improvements. Additionally, $18 million would be used to cover the city of Gastonia’s share for improvements on Interstate 85. PASSED
Question 1: Berkeley County – Would extend collection of a penny sales tax for transportation for another seven years. The tax is estimated to raise up to $600 million for road widening and resurfacing, and other projects countywide. Projects include implementing the second phase of widening U.S. Highway 176 from two to four lanes. PASSED
Question 1: Dorchester County—Whether to continue the collection of a penny sales tax for transportation work. Tax renewal is estimated to raise up to $735 million over 15 years for highways, roads, streets, bridges, mass transit systems, and other transportation-related facilities. Projects include improvements to the Orangeburg Loop and U.S. Highway 78. PASSED
Proposition A: Brazos County – Whether to approve a $100=million transportation bond for projects around Bryan and College Station. There are eight projects identified to aid roads and bridges. Approval authorizes an additional motor vehicle registration fee. Money would also come from the Bryan-College Station Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Texas Department of Transportation. PASSED
Proposition A: Denton County—Would authorize general obligation bonds totaling $650 million to be used over the next decade to construct, improve, repair and maintain roads, bridges and highways. Included would be city, state and county streets, roads, highways and bridges. PASSED
Proposition B: Harris County – Whether to tap bonds to pay for $900 million in transportation work. The transportation bond includes $400 million for road work. Another $400 million would be allotted to improve street drainage around the county. Additionally, $50 million will be directed to improve turn lanes, intersections and crosswalks. Multimodal transportation projects would receive $50 million. PASSED
Compiled by CIC, ARTBA and with research from Land Line Magazine, a trucking industry’s source for information pertaining to state legislative affairs.